By: Tanner Simkins @TannerSimkins
Even during a pandemic, the energy product and beverage wars have continued on, and for those products focusing on healthy vs. sweet the interest, and the need, has grown even more as consumers and athletes of every level, from youth sports to weekend warriors, try to find the best at home routine.
Among the news during the hiatus in sports was Body Armor’s recent awareness push tied to cause marketing with Megan Rapinoe, James Harden, Mike Trout, Naomi Osaka, Skylar Diggins-Smith, PGA Dustin Johnson, and Carlos Vela, and this week’s eye raiser with rising brand READY Nutrition getting not just an endorsement, but the first ever investment, by Milwaukee Bucks star and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. It was the latest step for the Pittsburgh based company, which in the last year also added NFL Two-time defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald as an investor, launched a massive partnership with the AAU and increased their consumer presence with distribution deals with big box stores like Walmart. How does a disruptor in the space…CEO and founder Pat Cavanaugh told media this week sales are going to approach $200 million this year…build and grow while other are on the sideline?
We asked Pat to elaborate.
You have two high profile partners…how do you select who fits and who doesn’t?
We don’t actively go looking for partners but when we get introduced to someone that could be a possible fit for our brand; we look for someone who has a story of outworking their obstacles, someone who takes more pride in their effort, attitude and hard work than their talent, and someone who is a fan and uses our products.
You have spent a great deal of time building a brand…what type of input do you want/like from people still focused as players like Aaron and Giannis are?
Our philosophy is to allow the players to stay focused on their #1 job – helping their teams win a championship. Everything else follows. We want them to be impactful for us in three ways: innovation on products and “situational nutrition”, sharing how Ready products they use benefit them and finally; sharing their stories of overcoming adversity to inspire and motivate young athletes to achieve their goals.
How will their roles be the same or different?
Their roles will be the same in that they will provide creative input on new innovation, and share their stories and guidance to aspiring athletes. Where their roles could be different which we will see over time; is if each of them develop a passion for certain types of products they gravitate towards in terms of bringing to market.
What has business been like during the pandemic. How has the company grown/shifted/contracted?
Our business has seen many swings from the start of the pandemic from pantry loading highs to initial stay at home order lows. It’s still in the process of leveling itself out in terms of brick and mortar. Our dot com business continues to grow consistently week over week across all product categories.
You spend a lot of time with college athletes…what are they doing/not doing in terms of engagement?
It’s been constantly evolving landscape for college athletics in general. Athletes moving off campus, trying to manage their school and athletic responsibilities and obviously nutrition plays a big part in all that. We have seen a number of schools provide care packages of sports nutrition products to try and help the athletes remain on point for their nutrition regimen. We have developed 30-Day Bundles of Product for the athletes they can use until they can get back on campus.
How has your work with youth sports changed/grown?
Since all youth sports have been put on hold for the past several weeks, we have provided more content for the young athletes and their families from goal setting programs to advice on proper eating as well as fitness ideas such as our push-up challenge.
Where do you hope to see the business in a year?
We will continue to expand our manufacturing footprint especially in the beverage and bar categories. We will be launching our new Sports Drink as well as a complementary line of products specifically targeted for athletes.